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Shmla’s sanitation workers on strike again, MC plans to outsource SHEB Society to private contractor

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shimla door to door garbage collection

SHEB workers alleged the Mayor of using inappropriate and abusive language when they approached her office to discuss their demands. The workers have demanded an apology from the Mayor.

Shimla: Shimla Municipal Corporation is mulling over plans to outsource work of door-to-door garbage collection to private contractors. The entire sanitation work of Shimla Heritage and Beautification Society (SHEB) costs 4.4 crores rupees per year to MC.  Some private contractors are believed to have their eyes on this amount.

Following it, SHEB Society has warned the Corporation of fast until death if the work is outsourced.

It is pertinent to mention that the SHEB Workers’ Union has initiated a five- day strike from September 1 due to which the sanitation condition of the capital city is likely to get uglier. Along with their demands including a hike in monthly wages, MC’s plan to outsource their work to private hands is another reason for this strike.

Currently, over 900 sanitation workers are employed in garbage collection in Shimla city. The workers said they are paid only Rs. 5800 per month only, which is not sufficient. They are demanding minimum Rs. 10500 as monthly wages.

Though the Mayor of Shimla, Kusum Sadret, denied having any such plans, the proposal for the invitation of tenders was, in fact, presented before the MC House for approval a few days ago.

The copy of the proposal shows that it was duly signed by the MC Health Officer and the Commissioner. The proposal said the SHEB Society is not working properly. The wages of the workers were hiked by 10 percent recently, but still, the workers are threatening to go on strike from September 1, 2017, as they are not satisfied with it.

It is requested to outsource this work of door to door garbage collection by floating tenders from companies/NGOs, Consortium, firms, professionals or individuals for same,

said the proposal.

Previous Mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, condemned this step. He said after coming into power at MC House, Bhartiya Janata Party is trying to privatize the work to benefit their favorites.

The door to door garbage collection facility was launched in 2010. The work was then given to a private company by the BJP-ruled state government. The company had failed in executing the work. Therefore, the work was given to SHEB Society. Workers were recruited and the facility worked efficiently.

As compared to 35 tons of garbage in 2012, currently the SMC is collecting 70 to 80 tons of garbage daily.

Chauhan said that currently 90 percent houses are connected with door to door garbage collection facility. He said the SHEB workers are regularly discharging their duty even in unfavorable weather conditions.

The capital has a waste treatment plant equipped with modern technology that converts garbage into electricity.

During his tenure, Chauhan added, the MC had passed a proposal to consider the SHEB workers as the Corporation employees and sent it to the state government for approval. Hundreds of posts are vacant in MC due to recruitment policy of the government, he said. 

However, the current MC is planning to hand over the SHEB Society to private hands where the workers would be exploited to extract maximum benefit, he said. 

Apparently, the private contractor would be interested in paying minimum wages and take maximum work from these workers.

He said the CPI (M) would not hesitate to launch a campaign against the MC if the decision to outsource SHEB Society is not withdrawn.

The SHEB workers also alleged the Mayor of using inappropriate and abusive language when they approached her office to discuss their demands. The workers said she started hurling abuses at them as soon as they reach the door of her office,

The workers have demanded a written apology from the Mayor.

The Mayor, however, denies these allegations and said the strike by the workers is a pre-planned move. She said it is not feasible to make more hikes in their wages at all. She said the last decision over the demands of the workers will be taken on September 11 after a meeting with the Minister of Urban Development.

The Mayor has also warned the workers of stern action if they continued with their strike.

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Misc News/Press Release

Video: Fire in Shimla’s Gumma devours Rs. 40 lakh property  

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Shimla: In a tragic incident of fire breakout in Gumma area of Kotkhai region in Shimla district on Saturday, about six rooms of a three-story building were lost. The fire brigade saved the two storeys and buildings adjacent to it.

No loss of life was reported, but the estimated loss of assets was initially assessed at about 40 lakh rupees.The owner of the house was identified as Rohit Chauhan.

Rohit’s mother was alone at the house when the fire broke out at about 3 PM. His mother called for help. However, the fire gutted six rooms on the third storey along with all belongings by the time the fire service reached the spot.

gumma-fire

The cause of the fire is believed to be a short-circuit.

While the other two stories housed shops, the third one was Rohit’s home.

The district administration has given Rs. 20,000 as a relief to the victim family.

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Sirmaur Tragedy: 7-year-old mauled to death by pack of stray dogs

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stray dogs maul a kid to death in Hiamchal pradesh

Shimla: In a spine-chilling incident, a pack of about half-a-dozen stray dogs on Saturday attacked and mauled a 7-year-old boy in Amarkot village in Paonta sub-division, Sirmaur district, Himachal Pradesh. As per the initial reports, the brutal attack by the dogs inflicted severe injuries on the head, throat, and neck.

On hearing the cries of the boy, the nearby people rushed to rescue the boy. However, dogs were so aggressive that they bit a couple of these people too.

The boy succumbed to the injuries on the way to the hospital. The boy was identified as Vikki, son of a migrant labour of Uttar Prades. The family was heart-broken after their piece of heart died a horrible death.

The head of the Amarkot village, Rakesh Mehraloo, said repeated complaints were made regarding the growing stray dog menace to the administration. Rakesh told media that some incidents of attack by stray dogs were also reported previously, which were also brought to the attention of the administration.

The administration, however, turned a blind eye towards the complaints and did not take any measure to solve this grieve issue, he said.

If the administration had acted timely, such a horrific incident could have been prevented.

It is pertinent to mention that the state government has also ignored the provision of dog-shelters and showed lackadaisical attitude in regular sterilizing of stray dogs.

Rest, the littering of food waste attract stray dogs and facilitate their reproduction, leading to such a nightmare.

The incident has created panic among the residents about the safety of their children.

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Drought-like situation haunts Himachal as no rain, snow in stock, HP DM holds emergency meeting 

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Drought-like situation in Himachal PRadesh

Shimla: As snow and rain continue to evade the peak winter season in Himachal Pradesh, which is already facing 49 percent post-monsoon rain deficiency, the State Disaster Management called a meeting to embraces for the impact of the drought-like situation in the State.

Today, the maximum day temperature in the capital Shimla was recorded at 19 Degree Celsius while the day was hottest for Una at 27 Degree Celsius.

While a debate over the role of global warming behind erratic changes in the weather can also be heard, the Met Department blamed the western disturbances, which, it said, are not strong this year, hence, there is no precipitation.

The nigh temperature in winters remains close to seven to nine Degrees Celsius, which is four to five notches above from the average temperature witnessed during this time of the year. If the same pattern continues for the next two weeks, then it will not only hit the Rs. 20,000-crore apple industry but the tourist influx too.

The apple growers need moisture and several hundred chilling hours to ensure ample apple crop, and this year they are short of the required chilling hours. 

The apple production, which was over 850 metric ton in 2011, has already been reducing.

Other crops like green almonds, tomatoes, pears, apricots, cabbage, cauliflower etc will also be affected due to dry weather.

The hoteliers and ski resorts are witnessing fall in tourist influx as the chances of snowfall are scarce.

Meeting of HP Disaster Mangement 

In wake of the drought-like situation, the Principal Secretary (Revenue and Disaster Management) Onkar Chand Sharma held a meeting with senior officers of various departments including the Deputy Commissioners of all 12 districts video conferencing.

Onkar Sharma said the government has analyzed entire rainfall data of all districts. It was found that there is a deficiency of 49 percent in the State (post-monsoon).

The meteorological department has predicted chances of scattered to moderate rainfall during 23-24 January 2018. Except that, the weather is likely to remain mostly dry until January 22 and January 25 onwards. 

However, the government said that the state has received ample rainfall during December 2017, therefore, the Rabi crops and the drinking water supply are unaffected so far.

The Disaster Managment will prepare a contingency plan to combat the drought-like situations, said the Secretary. 

There are 45 labs of the IPH department for the testing of drinking water supply, he informed.

The Deputy Commissioners were asked to ensure water quality testing randomly up to the subdivision level and arrange water tankers in water-scarce areas as well as fodder for livestock.

All the districts were also directed to take remedial measures to stop contamination of drinking water sources. Besides it, the Secretary directed super chlorination in all districts to prevent water-borne diseases like Jaundice.

Special Secretary, Revenue and Disaster Management Shri D.C. Rana, Director, Indian Meteorological Department Shri Manmohan Singh, Chief Engineer of IPH Department, senior officers from Horticulture and Agriculture also attended the meeting.

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